79 books like Pirates on the Chesapeake

By Donald G. Shomette,

Here are 79 books that Pirates on the Chesapeake fans have personally recommended if you like Pirates on the Chesapeake. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A General History of the Pirates

Virginia Chandler Author Of The Devil's Treasure: The Complete Tale

From my list on pirates, history, and legend.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m not a real pirate, at least not most of the time, but as a kid, I wanted to be one. I was firmly in love with the romantic “Robin Hood” type legends of the pirate kings. As an adult, the love for all things pirate became a fascination with the pirate archetype, pirate history, and pirate legend. But, honestly, for me, it’s the mystery. There are so many mysteries involving pirates: Where did they hide their treasure? Was there a secret pirate kingdom called Libertalia? Were there pirate curses? This prompted me to research and write The Devil’s Treasure, inspired by the need to know, the need to solve, the need to conquer. 

Virginia's book list on pirates, history, and legend

Virginia Chandler Why did Virginia love this book?

If you want to know the “history” of ye olde pirates, this is the penultimate of pirate history books. A General History of the Pirates was first published in 1724 for a surprisingly eager audience of readers. Daniel Defoe was, (and is), known for his fiction, such as Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, so he was a popular author at the time. However, it could not have been predicted that readers were so interested in the details concerning the scourge of the high seas, our beloved “bloodthirsty” pirates. Yet, this book, despite it being a flamboyant and rather colorful embellishment of actual pirate activity, was and remains a popular title. Every pirate fan, and certainly pirate historian, has at least one copy of this text on a shelf or table nearby. I always have my copy close at hand and referred to this text frequently while authoring my book…

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A General History of the Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A General History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson was published in 1724. As the primary source of biographies of some of the most notorious pirates it influenced popular conceptions of the lifestyles. Missing legs or eyes, burying treasure and the name of the pirates flag the Jolly Roger was introduced in this touchstone of pirate lore as it has been incorporated into popular culture. A General History of the Pyrates has influencing literature and movies to this day.


Book cover of Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

David Cordingly’s book is useful for its accurate and lively attempt to separate pirate facts from public fiction. He sifts through childhood tales of wooden legs and parrots to highlight the harsh realities experienced by most of these violent rogues. The tortures he describes serve to remind the reader that these were desperate times full of volatile career criminals. And the women were often as dangerous as their male counterparts! While considering Anne Bonny and Mary Read, he questions “Were there other women pirates?” and “How was it possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man in the cramped and primitive conditions on board an eighteenth-century ship?” These prompts helped me to focus on the issues my own female protagonist would have to overcome during her nautical adventures. I recommend this book because it is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sets out to discover the truth behind the stereotypical image of the pirate. Examining the rich literary and cultural legacy of piratical icons from Blackbeard to Captain Hook, the author compares the legends with their historical counterparts and comes up with some surprising conclusions. In a wider overview of the piracy myth, he explores its enduring and extraordinary appeal and assesses the reality behind the romance, answering in the process questions such as: why did men become pirates; were there any women pirates; how much money did they make from their plundering and looting; what effect did their…


Book cover of Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates

Eric Jay Dolin Author Of Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

From my list on piracy and pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

The origin story for Black Flags, Blue Waters begins with my kids. After I finished my last book, Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse, I began searching for a new book topic. I asked Lily and Harry, who were then in their teens, what I should write about. When I raised the possibility of pirates, their eyes lit up, both of them saying, “That’s it, you have to write about pirates.” Lily even threw out two possible titles for the book: “Swords, Sails, and Swashbucklers;” and “Argh”— or, perhaps more emphatically, “Arrrgh”— which, I had to tell Lily, much to her chagrin, is a word that probably was never uttered by a Golden Age pirate, and is more likely a creation of movies in which pirates dispense arghs with relish. My children’s strong support is, of course, not the only reason I wrote Black Flags, Blue Waters -- if my publisher hadn't been as enthusiastic about the idea as I was, the book might never have been written. But the fact that my kids were early adopters of the pirate idea, was definitely encouraging.

Eric's book list on piracy and pirates

Eric Jay Dolin Why did Eric love this book?

Captain William Kidd is one of the most fascinating characters in modern history. Ritchie, an academic historian by training, produced a highly readable book that places Kidd within his era, describing in often fascinating detail the events and people of the time and how they affected Kidd’s life and the course of piracy. This is a book that focuses on the late 1600s and very early 1700s, and, therefore, does not cover the 1710s and 1720s, when the real pirates of the Caribbean terrorized the Atlantic. After reading the book, you can decide if Kidd was a pirate or just a misunderstood privateer who got railroaded by the English government.

By Robert C. Ritchie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legends that die hardest are those of the romantic outlaw, and those of swashbuckling pirates are surely among the most durable. Swift ships, snug inns, treasures buried by torchlight, palm-fringed beaches, fabulous riches, and, most of all, freedom from the mean life of the laboring man are the stuff of this tradition reinforced by many a novel and film.

It is disconcerting to think of such dashing scoundrels as slaves to economic forces, but so they were-as Robert Ritchie demonstrates in this lively history of piracy. He focuses on the shadowy figure of William Kidd, whose career in the…


Book cover of The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down

Laura Nelson Author Of The Water Tiger

From my list on pirates (fact and fiction).

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in pirates began after attending the Real Pirates exhibit in Denver, Colorado, in 2011. All I can say now is that while I walked through the exhibit, I felt as though the pirates were personally speaking to me, asking me to tell the world their stories. I wrote several non-fiction articles about some of the men who sailed with Sam Bellamy on the Whydah Galley, the vessel featured in the exhibit. The writing and research were fun and fulfilling. In the last few years, I moved into fiction because I like reading fantasy myself and I wanted to explore the freedom of writing without having to document everything I wrote about.

Laura's book list on pirates (fact and fiction)

Laura Nelson Why did Laura love this book?

This was one of the first books I read as part of my research about pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy.

It has a bibliography and footnotes, but it reads more like an adventure novel. You can read it for research, entertainment, or both. Everything in this book really happened. It’s one of the best starting points for someone to learn about piracy in the early 1700s.

By Colin Woodard,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Republic of Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An entrancing tale of piracy colored with gold, treachery and double-dealing (Portland Press Herald), Pulitzer Prize-finalist Colin Woodward's The Republic of Pirates is the historical biography of the exploits of infamous Caribbean buccaneers.

In the early eighteenth century, the Pirate Republic was home to some of the great pirate captains, including Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, "Black Sam" Bellamy, and Charles Vane. Along with their fellow pirates — former sailors, indentured servants, and runaway slaves — this "Flying Gang" established a crude but distinctive democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which servants were free, blacks could…


Book cover of Meet The Pirates

Gwyn McNamee Author Of Squall Line

From my list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a criminal defense attorney, mom, and wife who grew up along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and lived there for 35 years, staring out at the vast water of the “Inland Seas” aka The Great Lakes. Intrigued by pirates, the criminals of the water, and the stories of pirates roaming the lakes, when I began writing fiction, I absolutely had to write a modern pirate series set in the area where I grew up. I’ve read dozens and dozens of historical non-fiction books about pirates, watched all the classic films and shows about them, and have read pirate romances my entire life, so writing my own was the next logical step.

Gwyn's book list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies

Gwyn McNamee Why did Gwyn love this book?

This one is for all the parents out there. My five-year-old daughter absolutely adores all things pirate and we love James Davies’ book, Meet the Pirates. It gives historical information and background in a really bright and fun way that keeps kids interested in learning. My daughter was riveted when I was reading to her from this book, all about the background of the pirates, where they roamed the seas, where they settled, and about pirate ships. Even I learned a lot of interesting tidbits of information that I didn’t know. This is part of a series by James Davies that introduces kids to the Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, too. 

By James Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet The Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's so much to digest when it comes to History - how do you know where to begin? These incredible short introductions are just the thing for readers aged 6+ who are beginning to explore ancient history. Get to know the basics on Pirates from famous looters to scurvy and hygiene, with easy-to-digest, humorous text that is reminiscent of the bestselling Horrible Histories series. James Davies' stunning artwork and infographics provide a fresh nonfiction approach that is sure to captivate young readers.


Book cover of Sea Queens: Woman Pirates Around the World

Laura Sook Duncombe Author Of Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

From my list on discover the truth about women pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved pirates since my first viewing of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan at age 5. My passion for learning about these outlaws led me to discover the hidden stories of women pirates—who have always sailed alongside their male counterparts yet never get the same glory. When I learned about Cheng I Sao, the greatest pirate who ever lived (who was a woman), I was so angry that her story wasn’t more well-known that I wrote a book about it! It has been a joy and an honor to share the stories of pirate women with the world and I have fully embraced my title of “crazy pirate lady.”

Laura's book list on discover the truth about women pirates

Laura Sook Duncombe Why did Laura love this book?

This is a picture book, but it’s absolutely lovely. Jane Yolen lends her considerable storytelling talent to this slim volume, which features both gorgeous illustrations of pirate women and bite-sized adaptations of their stories. This is a book I gift to most of the children in my life as a perfect introduction to the world of pirate women.

By Jane Yolen (, Christine Joy Pratt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sea Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1963 Jane Yolen released a book called PIRATES IN PETTICOATS, because the idea of women as pirates fascinated her--but there wasn't much information about these women who made their livelihoods plundering on the high seas. Scholars have dug up a bounty of new information since then, and Jane, still fascinated, revisits the ladies who loot.

Discover such great pirates as Artemisia, the Admiral Queen of Persia who sailed the seas from 500 to 480 BC. At one point there was a 10,000 drachma prize for anyone who could capture her. There was Rachel Wall, who ran away from her…


Book cover of Tough Boris

E.B. Bartels Author Of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

From my list on teaching kids about pet death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m someone who has had a lot of pets in my life––dogs, fish, birds, turtles, tortoises––which means I’m also someone who has had a lot of pets in my life die, because the worst thing about pets is they don’t live as long as we do. I spent ten years writing Good Grief, but really, I’ve been researching Good Grief my whole life, ever since my first pet died. This list includes some classics I loved when I was a kid, and some newer titles that I learned about while researching Good Grief. All are wonderful and will be a balm during a hard time.  

E.B.'s book list on teaching kids about pet death

E.B. Bartels Why did E.B. love this book?

This is another great picture book about the death of a non-dog/cat pet––in this Mem Fox classic, the pirate Tough Boris loses his dear pet parrot.

This book is especially wonderful though because it shows how even the toughest of tough guys––and Tough Boris is a tough pirate––can absolutely fall to pieces when a pet dies. It’s okay to cry about an animal dying––even if you are a pirate!

The really beautiful thing about this story though is seeing how Tough Boris copes with the loss through making friends with a stowaway boy on his ship, because if I’ve learned one thing from my pets dying, it’s that you need the support and love of other people to help you through the loss.

By Mem Fox, Kathryn Brown (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tough Boris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Boris von der Broch is a mean, greedy old pirate - tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? For when Boris'' parrot dies, the tough pirate is reduced to tears'


Book cover of Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader

Len Travers Author Of The Notorious Edward Low: Pursuing the Last Great Villain of Piracy's Golden Age

From my list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome).

Why am I passionate about this?

Let's face it: pirates of the Golden Age are just cool. No one would actually want to encounter them, but they have been the stuff of escapist dreams since childhood. Adventure, fellowship, treasure–the “romantic” aspects of piracy are what make these otherwise nasty individuals anti-heroes par excellence. As an adult and academic and as an occasional crewman on square riggers, I adopted pirates as a favorite sub-set of maritime history. As with other aspects of the past, I view the history of pirates and piracy as really two narratives: what the records tell us happened and why and what our persistent fascination with them reveals about us.

Len's book list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome)

Len Travers Why did Len love this book?

I like books that challenge longstanding but doubtful dogma and expose historical fallacies. This collection of essays does just that, and it quickly brought me up to speed on some of the best and latest studies about pirates and piracy.

More than a dozen essays by as many noted historians helped dispel my misconceptions concerning Blacks as pirates, the practices of piracy and privateering, the roles of women at the business end of piracy (booty is only good if you can sell it), and more. 

By C.R. Pennell (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bandits at Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dispelling the romanticized myths surrounding pirates, Pennell's edited collection provides a corrective history of bandits at sea
The romantic fiction of pirates as swashbuckling marauders terrorizing the high seas has long eclipsed historical fact. Bandits at Sea offers a long-overdue corrective to the mythology and the mystique which has plagued the study of pirates and served to deny them their rightful legitimacy as subjects of investigation.
With essays by the foremost scholars on these countercultural "social bandits," as Lingua Franca recently dubbed them, this collection examines various aspects of the phenomenon in the three main areas where it occurred: the…


Book cover of The Pirate Wars

Len Travers Author Of The Notorious Edward Low: Pursuing the Last Great Villain of Piracy's Golden Age

From my list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome).

Why am I passionate about this?

Let's face it: pirates of the Golden Age are just cool. No one would actually want to encounter them, but they have been the stuff of escapist dreams since childhood. Adventure, fellowship, treasure–the “romantic” aspects of piracy are what make these otherwise nasty individuals anti-heroes par excellence. As an adult and academic and as an occasional crewman on square riggers, I adopted pirates as a favorite sub-set of maritime history. As with other aspects of the past, I view the history of pirates and piracy as really two narratives: what the records tell us happened and why and what our persistent fascination with them reveals about us.

Len's book list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome)

Len Travers Why did Len love this book?

I taught courses on Atlantic piracy in the early-modern era and always included this lively, authoritative survey of piracy (and anti-piracy). It is a go-to volume for the newcomer to pirate history as well as for the specialist, and my students consistently praised it.

Peter Earle brings his mastery of maritime history to each page and is never boring! 

By Peter Earle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pirate Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Investigating the fascination pirates hold over the popular imagination, Peter Earle takes the fable of ocean-going Robin Hoods sailing under the "banner of King Death" and contrasts it with the murderous reality of robbery, torture and death and the freedom of a short, violent life on the high seas. The book charts 250 years of piracy, from Cornwall to the Caribbean, from the 16th century to the hanging of the last pirate cptain in Boston in 1835. Along the way, we meet characters like Captain Thomas Cocklyn, chosen as commander of his ship "on account of his brutality and ignorance,"…


Book cover of A General History of the Pyrates

Len Travers Author Of The Notorious Edward Low: Pursuing the Last Great Villain of Piracy's Golden Age

From my list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome).

Why am I passionate about this?

Let's face it: pirates of the Golden Age are just cool. No one would actually want to encounter them, but they have been the stuff of escapist dreams since childhood. Adventure, fellowship, treasure–the “romantic” aspects of piracy are what make these otherwise nasty individuals anti-heroes par excellence. As an adult and academic and as an occasional crewman on square riggers, I adopted pirates as a favorite sub-set of maritime history. As with other aspects of the past, I view the history of pirates and piracy as really two narratives: what the records tell us happened and why and what our persistent fascination with them reveals about us.

Len's book list on curing you of DPS (Disney Pirate Syndrome)

Len Travers Why did Len love this book?

So where does our modern (mis-)understanding of pirates and piracy come from? 

I learned quickly that no one serious about studying piracy can avoid engaging with this famous work (supposedly written by Daniel Defoe, but I have my doubts), first published in 1724 when his subjects were still marauding. It’s a combination of recent reports, reliable letters, dubious rumors, and outright fantasy concerning the pirate scourge.

The author, whoever he (she?) was, chronicles the careers of the age’s most famous pirates (and many from the B-list)–while adding a lot of gratuitous sex and violence. The problem is that too many writers have relied upon this book uncritically since then. Still, I find the author’s flashes of wit, sharp analysis, satire, and political commentary fun as well as useful.

By Daniel Defoe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A General History of the Pyrates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Famed for his enduring fictional masterpieces Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe also possessed considerable expertise in maritime affairs. As a commission merchant, importer, shipowner, and an active journalist who reported "ship news" and interviewed surviving pirates, Defoe achieved a high degree of authority on the subject of buccaneers. His knowledge was such that his book, A General History of the Pyrates, remains the major source of information about piracy in the first quarter of the 18th century.
Reprinted here in its entirety, this fascinating history abounds in tales of flamboyant outlaws and their bloody deeds: Captain Edward Teach,…


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